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Airblue down near Islamabad

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Airblue down near Islamabad

Old 28th Jul 2010, 21:19
  #101 (permalink)  
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A 12 DME ARC predicated on the VOR would be beyond the apparent crash site.
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Old 28th Jul 2010, 21:21
  #102 (permalink)  
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I agree, a circle to land is as you say the visual segment after breaking off a instrument approach. You will never find a circle to land chart, the minima will be posted on the bottom of the approach you are flying unless circle to land is not allowed off that approach then no circling minima will be published..

What Meekal may be referring to is possibly a vor or ndb approach which starts off by flying the arc to the FAF.
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Old 28th Jul 2010, 21:22
  #103 (permalink)  
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So, since he did hit the hills, he must have been executing the circle-to-land DME arc for 12. I have done that at least 20 times from the front and the back of the bus.
Back course approaches have a way of getting cancelled as localizer performance degrades over time (absent aggressive maintenance/replacements). As to the 12 DME ARC that would seem to arc west of the crash site.
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Old 28th Jul 2010, 21:23
  #104 (permalink)  

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If the crew lost visual contact with the runway, they should have initiated an immediate climb to a level above MSA. Why this was not done is a mystery. But many variables may have contributed, which means speculation without information is a waste of time.

And there appears to be confusion between R/W 12 and a 12DME Arc procedure in this thread. That is in itself evidence of a lack of expert knowledge.
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Old 28th Jul 2010, 21:46
  #105 (permalink)  
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And there appears to be confusion between R/W 12 and a 12DME Arc procedure in this thread. That is in itself evidence of a lack of expert knowledge.
I don't see where anyone in this thread has exercised, or tried to exercise, expert knowledge, other than perhaps my drawing up the present PANS-OPS circle-to-land criteria. That is factual.

As to whether a DME ARC or BC 12 procedure (or both) existed in the past could be a correct or incorrect recollection. I don't see how that is an assertion of expert knowledge.
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Old 28th Jul 2010, 21:59
  #106 (permalink)  
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Judging by the photos it looks like they nearly managed to clear the ridge line. Sad!
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Old 28th Jul 2010, 22:14
  #107 (permalink)  
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Folks (which includes any women here)

Let us not get carried away with this 30,000 hour and I-can-do-no-wrong because of all my hours thing.

I knew this pilot, Capt Siraj, very senior in PIA with probably around the same amount of air-time, flew with him many times, no non-pertinent chatter at any time, leave alone below 10,000, and he was considered to be rock-solid. He flew the same ILS to 30 we are talking about into Islamabad (or are we?) in a 747-200 in and out of early morning Islamabad mist (so ATC could not see him) and made one of his trade-mark feather-light touch-downs -- (yes, I know it is preferable to fly it on with a sink of about -300fpm rather than go into an extended flare and try for the greaser which takes up a lot of real estate) except that he forgot to put his gear down.

Slid down the runway, kept it on the center-line and everyone was fine.

Passengers said it was a "normal landing".

Boeing put jacks under her and fixed her and she flew on for many years until she was scrapped.

I still remember the last letter on her tail. "Whiskey".

That intrigued many non-alcoholic drinking Pakistani's (mind you, there are many others who are NOT non-alcoholic, especially in PIA!), who were convinced that the registration was jinxed.

As someone said, if you have 30,000 hours (which I am guessing since Capt. Pervez Choudhry in command of the Airblue A321 had retired from PIA some years ago and must have had a life-time of flying in PIA), it does not mean you are a good or a great pilot but only that you "survived". A pretty sobering thought (if you will forgive the pun).

Indeed, looking at the recent spate of air accidents are you folks not struck by the high-time the captain has? I was reading the ditching of the Tunisian ATR-72 recently. He had 5,000 hours in command on-type and he ran out of fuel!

The ex-pat at Maglore had, I think, around 10,000 hours. The captain on the Afriquah A330 was pretty high-time too.

Many years ago, on the inaugural PIA flight to Cairo, the senior-most PIA pilot of the time, No. 1, Capt. A. A. Khan under-shot the runway and killed all the dignitaries except for five passengers.

So what does this all mean for flight safety?

I would welcome your views.

When you see your captain with deep facial lines (even if botox is the new option), gray/white hair and maybe walking with a limp (like John Wayne in "Fate is the Hunter"), should you feel you are in safe hands as opposed to some jock with a jaunty walk and arrogance and a crocked smile about him?
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Old 28th Jul 2010, 22:23
  #108 (permalink)  
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I sussed the confusion a while back - Meekal means DME arc for R12, not 12D. From the sound of it it could be a 'home-brew' procedure.

auh - agreed - I was not asking for a 'circle-to-land' chart, but ANY charts for R12. I just cannot understand why there appears to be no VOR procedure on R12 with the beacon apparently perfectly positioned.
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Old 28th Jul 2010, 22:30
  #109 (permalink)  
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Ok gentleman lets put this one to rest. For all that are thinking some sort of instrument approach on Rwy 12, not possible as there are none published for runway 12.

What was he doing pointing towards the Margalla hills?
only one answer is possible. Circling approach for RWY 12 coming off the ILS or VOR or NDB for Rwy 30

As has been said before when visual contact with the runway is lost, Missed Approach, no questions asked.

And yes Meekal evan 30000 hour pilots make mistakes.
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Old 28th Jul 2010, 22:37
  #110 (permalink)  

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So can anyone with recency at Islamabad confirm whether or not there is an official circle to land procedure for R/W 12? Any charts available and are these drawn to PANS-OPS or TERPPS? Is there a circling with prescribed tracks? DME arc procedures are normally well coded into the FMGC's..... again, anyone here operate the Bus into Islamabad who can confirm/deny this?

Is 12 the preferential runway? If not why impose circling in marginal wx when a tailwind landing on 30 is perfectly safe?

How can you possibly end up 7 miles from the field if you follow the standard Airbus circle-to-land procedure? The break from the ILS to downwind should put you about 1.7nm abeam.....

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Old 28th Jul 2010, 22:47
  #111 (permalink)  
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It has been said before no charts for circle to land. It is a visual procedure and yes have been to ISB no approach on Rwy 12.

As you ask, why were they 7nm on a circle to land. We may never know.

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Old 28th Jul 2010, 23:14
  #112 (permalink)  
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Post likely crash site

From Machaca's (thanks!) photos and an article in The Express Tribune link here I believe the crash site to be located almost 12km nearly due North of the end of rwy30. mapped with Google Maps at 33.746039, 73.045006‎, +33 44' 45.74", +73 2' 42.02".
See Google Maps here
This is west of the first big switchback on the Pir Sohawa Rd. I believe this is the road seen in Machaca's photos.
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Old 28th Jul 2010, 23:46
  #113 (permalink)  
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Air blue crash

i have been reading with lot of interest about the various peculation,regarding the crash what we r forgetting is that the three subsequent ac diverted to lhe. due weather.The mere landing gear down on the bus was a planned circlin30/40 secomds for wind then downwind and in for the app. if u had planned the app. and[ the co pilot was just new] of set for the circling app. on 12 is 45 deg off to the right on the down wind
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Old 29th Jul 2010, 00:03
  #114 (permalink)  
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Thank you folks that have supported me and those that have not. This is not about our 'ego'; it is about air safety.

I will scan the Pakistani papers tomorrow but will probably see obfuscation and denial. Because we are so secretive about these things having not published an air accident report in 62 years.

I don't expect much to change.

Now I will end a day of anguish and sadness, have my dinner, and go to sleep.

Take care guys and for those flying out there, keep the blue side up.
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Old 29th Jul 2010, 00:14
  #115 (permalink)  
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As previously stated why would an aircraft stray more than 2 NM from the airport on a circle to land approach? They obviously were not looking out the window and maintaing visual with the runway as required. We will see when the data comes out but bet they were using automation, not basic flying skills again.
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Old 29th Jul 2010, 00:59
  #116 (permalink)  
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When you do the circling in the Airbus, you are most likely not able to see the runway during the 45 degree brake away from the centreline. Once you turn downwind, that is the time when you have to see the runway.
Airbus recommends to disconnect the autopilot latest on the downwind. It is normally flown at flaps3 gear down. You can choose flaps full landing and put the full flaps somewhere on the base. The turn has to be finished at 400 feet at full config. In case of windy conditions, you might decide to land flaps 3, in which case you would be configured for a landing quite early and your work load would be less on base. But nevertheless, the circling should be done within 1.7 or 2 miles of the runway. That is why you time only 30 seconds when you are braking away at 45 degrees from the final track. You start timing when wings are level. If the aircraft is covering 3 miles a minute, than in 30 seconds it should position you to the right distance (strong winds would influence it a little bit). But to be 12 miles away, you would have to fly for 4 minutes. That is a lot of time.
I am not sure, if they were not trying to do some circling/visual hybrid approach. But who knows.
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Old 29th Jul 2010, 02:07
  #117 (permalink)  
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We had to circle to land at San Jose, Costa Rica a lot and the upsloap into rising terrain on the downwind with lowering cloud height was always a problem. We were flying into rising terrain so timing and not seeing the runway was not an option. Also the maneuver to enter downwind was when conditions were right, not over the airport but prior to the airport with ample opportunity to make a normal visual pattern. A circling approach requires VMC conditions so timing that 45 degree turn to the downwind should not be necessary. It can easily be done visually.
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Old 29th Jul 2010, 02:09
  #118 (permalink)  
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I remember some years back I flew into ISB. We were cleared for 30 ILS, then about 5000 feet a "sudden" tailwind of 25 knots was at the field! hmm. We were told to circle to land 12. It was a very quick readjustment and briefing. The weather was clear skies on a pitch black night.

I remember turning base, I decided to leave the A/P engaged for the initial descent until I was on base and fully aware of where I was. We were supposed to disconnect the A/P 50 feet below minima. However, turning base is a "black hole" on this runway and would be very easy to initiate a steep descent whilst trying to keep an eye out for the runway. Therefore I elected to do "non SOP" and keep the A/P on for this particular day for a few seconds more (reason - safety).

I'm not sure if this is where the crash site is, but I can fully understand if this was the case. We were in clear conditions, so in rain and weather, this would be much harder. We also had minimas for circling of 2700 feet on this runway.

We were in a 777, so I am not familiar with Airbus specifics regarding this crash.
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Old 29th Jul 2010, 02:17
  #119 (permalink)  
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Speculation on why he was so far from the runway

Let's talk for a minute about Moving Map. And please feel free to raise the bullshat flag if you disagree with any of this based on your Airbus flying experience. On the predecessor airplane: the A310/A300 series (which was the first successful glass airliner), it was known that events happened in the third world to get as much as an 18 mile Map shift after the procedure turn, which of course is not acceptable for safe commercial navigation and could be fatal at some airports.

I never liked the early Airbus glass philosophy that the IRU positions were updated automatically, by just checking with the honeywell database for "blackballed" nav stations, and then skewing the map solution like crazy based on a station that may not have all it's marbles together that day, for whatever reason.

In the old days, when pilots had yokes, and airliners did not "just fly themselves", it was a standing procedure to personally identify and continuously moniter the morse code of any station you intended to bet your life on. But the airbus birds violated this time-tested rule and didn't constantly verify that the stations morse code was on the air. Finding out that in the systems manual was a challenge: Discovering that Airbus didn't want you to disable this DME updates feature down low was a very sobering day for me. There was no off switch!

After a lot of research and experimentation I discovered the only way to disable updates on the A310/A300 (which could kill you down low if you believed the map's story of where the airport was) in the terminal area was to put both pilot's VNI switches to off and then manually disable updates on each FMC. And it didn't always do it either. You had to sit there after disabling it and stare for a few minutes at the FMC update page to see if the commie box was going to latch onto a station and start moving the map around. Can you easily disable VOR/DME updates on the A320's? Does it mix in GPS?

Shocking design, but pilots and airlines who didn't appreciated that hazard happily had religious faith that the airport location was always correct as displayed by the ND (Navigational Display's Moving Map). Could this have happened in this accident?

When two check airmen broke out at minimums staring into tall mountains where the airport was supposed to be according to the map, and then did a desperate close-call TOGA that made the certifying "Navigator" quit, we knew we had a serious problem.

But the in-house solution was just fly on raw data and then to blackball certain VOR's that were suspected along the route to have screwed up the Maps believed position. (It's true, there was a time when Airbus reps advocated not having any raw data, like in rose mode, displayed. Both guys were chastised to remain in Map and "Get the Airbus Religion" as they counseled me in no uncertain terms.) But what if the VOR I'm depending on flakes out on approach? It happened in Juno, Alaska and killed everybody on that Western Airlines flight. That's when many airlines started having one guy (usually the Second Officer) listen to the morse code all the way to the ground. If it flaked out, he was supposed to tell the crew to go around.

But Airbus won't tell you that because they replaced the S/O with ECAM, and now you're just supposed to have faith that the station DME will not skew you if a local fiddles with it, or the roof of the VOR shack starts leaking.

Hey, it can happen.

And depending on EGPWS to save you is folly. I've seen that system screaming "Terrain" when on high approach to new runways in Kula Lumpur that the database was incorrect on. On a tight circle to land in marginal weather you and I both know it can get iffy. And the Airbus temptation is to just look at the airport center on the map and hope you reacquire the threshold (being blissfully unaware that the damn thing is still updating map center to any DME it can acquire.)

Such a deadly set of temptations that FAA has placed no-circling restrictions on many airline's type ratings on the biggest iron.


Crunch - out
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Old 29th Jul 2010, 02:43
  #120 (permalink)  
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Re #120.
We are all children of the magenta line.
Unless EGPWS has a precision nav input (and appropriate ground stations) or preferably its own embedded GPS then the system's operation can be severely limited.
The basic GPWS may still provide some alerting, but this in only using rad alt, may not give a sufficiently early warning in steeply rising terrain.
Rather than the regulators adjusting training and ratings, there would be much more value in mandating a relatively cheap GPS 'card' in EGPWS.
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